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'We're Lucky That Brosna GAA In North Kerry Have Been So Good To Us'

10 May 2023; PwC GPA Player of the Month for April in ladies' football, Kayleigh Cronin of Kerry, with her award at PwC’s offices in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Kayleigh Cronin says the Kerry panel are happy with their training situation this year. It's just over 12 months since teammate Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh voiced her frustration about her side's lack of access to the county's Centre of Excellence in Currans. That was despite Ní Mhuircheartaigh's image being on the front of the main building at the Kerry GAA facility.

"This year, we've been very lucky that Brosna GAA in North Kerry have been so good to us," says Cronin, speaking after being named PwC GPA Player of the Month for April in ladies’ football.

"They have superb facilities, and pitches as good as anywhere in the county. We never had a problem with it.

"We actually ended up playing Meath there as well, which was super for the community. They came out in their 100s to support us. We really appreciate it. It's been a really solid base for us.

"We're in and out of there and MTU Kerry. Both of those are suiting us perfectly, and we're more than happy with where we are.

"Winter time was mostly Brosna, and we're transitioning a small bit more to the MTU now. The county boards are always in cahoots, the two of them, the men's and the women's. They'll sort out anything that needs to be sorted out with anything else."

kayleigh cronin kerry

31 July 2022; Emma Duggan of Meath in action against Kayleigh Cronin and Aishling O'Connell of Kerry during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final match between Kerry and Meath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Last year was a breakthrough one for Kerry. They finally broke their duck in Division 2 finals, and went on to reach the All-Ireland final, losing out to defending champions Meath.

Their progression has continued this season. A comprehensive win against Galway in the Division 1 final was an obvious sign.


"The underdogs tag might be starting to slip away from us! It has served us pretty well over the past couple of years," says Cronin.

"It's a good trait we have as a group, that we keep all that stuff outside of the dressing room walls. Whatever pressure is on us is from within the group.

"Two years ago, everything that was said about Kerry was negative, and we took no notice. We have to treat it the same with the positive talk.


kayleigh cronin kerry

18 February 2023; Kayleigh Cronin of Kerry celebrates after her side's victory in the 2023 Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 Round 4 match between Kerry and Dublin at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"There were a couple of years when I first came into the panel that were tough going to say the least. Nobody had an ounce of faith in us. It would make you question the faith in yourself as well. We went through a couple of hard years. Even a couple of years previous to when I was there, they were in the depths of despair nearly.


"We always had faith that we did have the players. We just had to get a system in place. Thankfully, the management that are here at the minute (Darragh Long and Declan Quill) have brought that into place. Now we are seeing the fruits of our labour over the last few years. It's coming good."

In 10 games so far this season - eight in the National League and two in the Munster Championship - Kerry have scored an incredible 24 goals. It continues their form from last year's championship in which they scored 14 goals in five games.

kayleigh cronin kerry

11 June 2022; Olivia Divilly of Galway in action against Kayleigh Cronin of Kerry during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Group C - Round 1 match between Kerry and Galway at St Brendan's Park in Birr, Offaly. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

"You get a feeling for what the opposition backs have to go through as well," says Kerry fullback Cronin about what it's like facing the Kingdom forwards in training.

"They get a feeling of what we have to go through two or three times a week as well. It's invaluable, you never go into a match fearful. You've already been up against the best.


"They've been good for giving us a few cues in the sense that you pick up little bits from them. It just makes you better. It's like we were saying last year about being in Division 1 versus Division 2, you want to be playing the best week in, week out. Luckily, we're training against the best.

"It's the Kerry way, and it always has been: If there's a goal on, go for it. The lads will never give out to you. They'll never give out to you for kicking a wide if the shot is on.

"In training, we do spend a lot of time picking pockets, and picking space for our forwards to exploit because they have got the pace and power to get through it.

"We're attacking all the time. That's backs and forwards. It's just free-flowing. It's a really enjoyable team to be in. Thanks be to God, we're not a mass defence crowd. I wouldn't enjoy that myself. It's all shackles off."

10 April 2022; Niamh Coleman of Armagh in action against Kerry players Kayleigh Cronin, left, and Cáit Lynch during the Lidl Ladies Football National League Division 2 Final between Armagh and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cronin says last year's All-Ireland final - a nine-point defeat to Meath - was "a tough old day".

"We sat down as a group and analysed the final together," she says.

"We just had an honest chat with ourselves about what our standards were and what we expect of each other, and what we were willing to do going forward to make sure it didn't happen again.

"We were obviously heartbroken on July 31 last year. It has stood to us. At the time, if you'd told me we'd have been a better team for it, I would have laughed it off. I certainly think that we've taken a lot from it.

"We're continually learning from it. We're not the finished product by any stretch of the imagination. We still have a long way to go."

See Also: Emma Duggan Says Kerry Are The Team To Beat In The LGFA Football Championship



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